This month we are going to cover "Salvation" in-depth.
In order to do this well, we need to build some foundational skills this week. This first skill is a review from the Job Series. I wanted to make this a separate post so I can link back to it in the future. Also, I want you to take some time and really absorb this concept without the distraction of Elihu's complex thought process...
One of the characteristics of intelligent people is their ability to see that what appears to be one concept is actually a combination of more than one concept. I call this ability to separate out the components of a seemingly whole concept "Resolution".
Said another way, "Resolution" is the ability to bring enough clarity to a topic that you can see that it is actually made up of more than one concept.
Likewise, working to intentionally see what appears to be a whole concept (I call this the "lump") as more than one concept actually improves your ability to think and makes you physiologically more intelligent...it clarifies and speeds up feedback loops in the brain!
Basically, every thought is represented by a "tree" in your brain. During the brain series, we used the analogy of a squirrel making a "round trip"...from the base of one tree, to the trunk, to a branch, to a branch on a separate tree, to the trunk, and back to the ground. This is a complete thought.
A "lump" is like a big complex tree. The squirrel runs up it and jumps from one branch to another only to find out he is still on the same tree. When he runs back to the trunk, he stops because that is the trunk he ran UP. Running up AND down the same trunk is disorienting to us...it makes us want to stop going up trees...especially this specific LUMP tree. ("THAT "tree" is a mystery!")
Resolution is the ability to cut up the tree into a smaller tree (or several smaller trees) and replant it next to this original tree. Now you have two (or more) trees that you are able to use to complete the loops. Notice, the loops now are able to be completed quicker. A person's ability to think is measured by their ability to complete feedback loops and the time it takes to complete the feedback loops.
Lumps and choosing to live with lumps results in the person becoming physiologically LESS intelligent!
Resolution results in increased intelligence!
"Modeling God" uses "simple" definitions for key concepts. This results in quicker, non-contradictory feedback loops. In fact, a lot of the definitions people give for key concepts actually hinder your ability to think. "Faith is what you need from God when you can't get what you want from God." It may sound poetic, but how does this definition help you understand and think better. These "poetic" definitions actually make you physiologically LESS intelligent...especially if they are contradictory.
You are probably anxious for an example...the reality is this blog constantly deals with "Resolution"! Here is a partial list (along with links) of examples of "Resolution":
-IS vs. OUGHT
Most people who think they are talking about the way things OUGHT to be are actually rationalizing the way things are. This becomes immediately obvious when you pose OUGHT to these people. They will tell you to be realistic and live with their perspective because "that's the way it IS". When you understand "IS vs. OUGHT", you are able to see issues much more clearly than others...
In the comments of Friday's Post, I explained how John Piper believes God is ONE, so if God tells us to have an EFFECT, we ought to just have the EFFECT. Actually, there are CAUSES and EFFECTS. God motivates us to find the CAUSE by telling us about the EFFECT. Faking the EFFECT is "works". When people realize that pastors "preach effects", they understand why they feel so empty three days after hearing a sermon...
-ARE, DO, HAVE
When people answer the question: Who ARE you? their answer actually fits into one of three categories and shows their perspective on life. The answer is either HAVE (possession), DO (activity) or ARE. The conflict that begins the Book of Job is between God and Satan and it concerns ARE, DO, HAVE...
-Proving God Exists
When people attempt to prove that God exists, they actually try to prove two things:
1) The existence of God
2) God's identity
When their explanation for God's identity is contradictory, they think this proves God doesn't exist. God's existence can be proven in less than 8 seconds: Causality. There had to be a causeless First Cause...and that First Cause is "God". Every question after THAT fifteen-word explanation is actually focused on the identity of the causeless First Cause...not existence.
-Understanding vs. Agreement
When most people argue, they tend to focus on agreement. Actually that is the second step. First they ought to focus on understanding. Having "Resolution" on this issue helps people avoid lengthy and unprofitable discussions...
-Understanding vs. Experience
There are actually two ways that people learn: understanding and experience. These are also the two ways that faith is grown. Understanding is uncomfortable in the short-term because it requires us to think and CONSIDER we are wrong. When people don't learn by understanding, they are telling God to teach them by experience. The individual actually invites God to make something bad happen because it is the only way they can learn...
My experience is that Calvinists, Traditionalists, and Post-Modernists tend to LUMP topics together in order to come to a quick superficial conclusion. They tend to resist peoples' attempts to bring "Resolution" (and understanding) to the discussion. Remember, John Piper is on a quest to make everything ONE. More specifically, apologetics intentionally tries to bring every discussion back to one of three LUMPS: God created the heavens and the earth, man is sinful, and Jesus died for our sins.
The topic we are going to look at this month DEFINITELY requires Resolution...
Everything that Jesus talked about concerned two messages: Salvation (how to get to Heaven) and Rewards (how to have spiritual value here and in Heaven). LUMPING these two messages as ONE leads to a belief in "works" or the belief that we can't, or aren't supposed to, understand God. We are going to spend this month getting Resolution between these two concepts and then getting Resolution within the concept of Salvation.
However, before we look at this, we are going to get Resolution on a couple of terms that are the source of a lot of revelation...